Email is a crucial aspect of modern-day marketing and communication, used to engage with potential clients, existing customers, and business partners. However, one of the biggest challenges faced by marketers and business owners is ensuring their emails reach the intended recipient’s inbox. This is where the concept of an email blacklist comes into play.
In this article, we will delve into the world of email blacklists, understand how they work, and provide tips on how to avoid getting blacklisted.
An email blacklist is a live database of IP addresses and domain names that are known to send spam emails. Email providers such as Gmail, Yahoo, and Microsoft use these blacklists to protect their users from receiving unwanted and potentially harmful emails. If an email server’s IP address or domain name is on a blacklist, all emails sent from that server may be blocked or filtered into the recipient’s spam folder.
Email blacklists work by using algorithms and human input to identify and track IP addresses and domain names that are associated with spam. These blacklists are updated in real-time, so if a new IP address or domain name is identified as sending spam, it can be added to the list quickly.
• IP/ Domain: If your email server has been flagged for spam multiple times, then it might be blocked. This is why email marketing providers such as Mailchimp are so cautious about spam reports, as they don’t want their shared server’s IPs marked as spam.
• Authentication: Checkers will look for three main tools that are used to prevent email phishing and spoofing (where a spam email pretends to be from another domain). These are DomainKeys Identified Mails (DKIM); Sender Policy Framework (SPF); and Domain-based Message Authentication, Reporting & Conformance (DMARC).
• Checks against SpamAssassin: Apache SpamAssassin is a powerful open-source anti-spam platform that gives a strong indication of whether your email will be filtered out.
• Content: Good email spam checkers will also look at content for items including spammy words or phrases, too many hyperlinks, odd attachments, file sizes, and more.
Getting blacklisted can have a significant impact on your email deliverability and harm your business reputation. To avoid getting blacklisted, follow best practices for email marketing and do all you can to ensure your emails are not marked as spam by recipients:
Here are some tips to avoid getting blacklisted:
• Use a reputable email service provider: Using a reputable email service provider that has a good reputation and implements best practices for email marketing can help reduce the risk of getting blacklisted. Examples include:
o Active Campaign
• Use a trusted data vendor which is fully compliant to European and US Law and know the local legislation for the countries in which you are doing email marketing. For example, UK data protection law is regulated by GDPR and PECR. Sending unsolicited marketing emails to individuals is illegal unless they have given prior consent. Exceptions include emails to employees of corporations, partnerships, charities, etc.
• Monitor your sending frequency: Sending too many emails in a short period can result in a high number of recipients marking your emails as spam. Monitor your sending frequency and adjust it as needed to avoid this.
• Avoid using trigger words: Certain words, such as “free”, “earn money”, and “limited time offer,” can trigger the spam filters.
• Keep your email list clean: Regularly cleaning your email list by removing inactive subscribers and bounced emails can help improve your deliverability and reduce the risk of getting blacklisted.
• Utilise spam checkers to evaluate the emails you send out. E.g., http://isnotspam.com/ or https://www.mail-tester.com/ are two examples.
Email blacklists play a crucial role in protecting email users from receiving unwanted and potentially harmful emails. As a marketer or business owner, it is crucial that you understand how email blacklists work and take steps to avoid getting blacklisted. By following best practices for email marketing, using a trusted data partner, a reputable email service provider, and regularly monitoring and cleaning your email list, you can improve your email deliverability and protect your business reputation.